The first in a regular series of musings...

Published on Tuesday 9th August, 2011 by Celtic Trust

Vincent Doherty begins his regular blog today. If you like it, tell us. If you don't, tell him!

On the road again.


I’ve committed to doing a regular blog on the Trust website. As a regular contributor to a number of publications it’s difficult sometimes not to keep saying the same things. I’ve also been reluctant to take it on before because I was unsure if I’d be able to stick with it. But here goes, let’s see what transpires. It should be noted that these views are my own and not those of the Celtic Trust so if you have anything you wish to comment on direct it to me rather than the Trust. I alone am responsible for the content.


Being part of the Home support.


It was good to see all the important people in Dublin for the Super Cup last weekend, although it was odd for some of us being part of the home support. I thought we did ok, even in the defeat to Inter, we were unlucky on several occasions and the second goal was like watching in  slow  motion.  Just what Zaluska was doing  at the time of the second goal remains a mystery. He had time to collect the ball and go for a quick cup of tea instead of “fannying aboot” as one of my friends from Glasgow so delicately put it. We still need a goal-keeper if we are to steady the defence and progress in Europe.

Strange indeed that feeling of getting up at 10 o’clock  on a match-day morning  and having time for a long breakfast before heading of for a bite of lunch and a few drinks with friends before the game. Usually we’re in Glasgow by 10, never mind just getting up. It seemed even stranger when we actually sat down at the game, like, isn’t there lots of other things we should have had to do before earning the right to see the Celtic. When I hear from old friends or relations in and around Glasgow who ‘don’t bother’ to go to games anymore, except ‘big ones’ it really makes me sad - and mad. There’s a sense of betrayal, a sense of alienation from the people concerned. Some things are important in helping define who we are, not only symbolically but actually. Celtic is a big part of my identity and a fundamental symbol of the Diaspora. That’s why I make the trip so frequently to stand side by side in common cause with my brothers and sisters in the Celtic family. Besides the travel is a whole lot easier than it used to be, I remember the prolonged adventure undertaken by me and ‘Wee Charlie’ Mc Laughlin when we made our way to our first game, the Cup final of 1970. It was like a trip across the world. Took us 18 hours from when we left Derry till we arrived in Glasgow. Now if we’re lucky we can be home within 18 hours of leaving the house.


The Away Support.

To get to Aberdeen on Sunday and back for work on Monday  means an overnight in Glasgow  and the bus up from ‘The Wee Mans’ really early on Sunday morning. I make that sacrifice like many others because I love to cheer on my team and I’m a particularly proud member of the ‘Celtic away support.’  We are a group that is constantly used as a battering ram with which to attack the club. To be honest we’re well used to it. Still I was astonished at the appearance of an article attacking the Celtic fans and accusing them of engaging in ‘offensive chanting’ during the course of our 2-0 victory at  Easter Road.

Unlike in the Cup Final when Rob McLean and Pat Nevin feigned apoplexy at the singing of ‘sectarian songs’ no one commenting on the game this time heard anything ‘offensive.’ Nor even did the print media in Scotland comment after the game, despite having ‘dedicated’ reporters who’s primary function is  finding ‘offence’ amongst the Celtic away support at any and every opportunity. The ‘laptop loyal’ could not find an iota of ‘offence’ at Easter road. The newshound sniffing out and ‘outing’ the ‘Celtic away support’ on this occasion was none other than self proclaimed expert on all things Celtic, one Phil Mc Goilla Bhain. I think those who see this as a blatant career move on Phil’s part, or try to relate it in any way to his rehabilitation  amongst the Celtic hierarchy, or indeed to a recent article by him in the Celtic View are just a cabal of typically paranoid old-timers who would claim to have seen this transition: ‘rebel’ to ‘respectable’, all before. Quite why a ‘rebel’ would wish to come in from the cold and sit in the comfortable seats provided by the establishment has always mystified me, but it’s hardly unprecedented  in the recent history of our club. Or is it? Answers on a postcard please.


‘Fly away home to Zion’

When my dearly departed friend, comrade  and mentor Nick Robin and I were young students at the University of Sussex, we used to take regular time off from our political campaigning to go to the ‘Soul Disco’ in ‘The Crypt’ at the Falmer campus. We were big fans of Bob Marley and Wailers as well as other reggae icons like ‘Toots and the Maytals.’ I often wondered was it because we used to smoke a bit too much of the old ‘Bob Marley’ that we could never fully figure out the lyrics. In fact one of the benefits of a university education was that we had a good bit time on our hands to discuss what in fact Bob was warbling on about.

The lyric ‘Fly away home to Zion, fly away home’ came into my head on Friday after the Europa Cup draw was announced. It was one such lyric and the cause of much consternation. Basically as I recall it means after the hard struggle (on the field of play) is complete - ‘when my work is over’ my opponents will be defeated  - ’Babylon your throne gone down’  and we shall progress to a higher place - ‘Fly away home.’ In this instance the Group Stages of the Europa Cup. For so it is written. Can I suggest a new chant for the away support in Switzerland , as well as  the home support in Paradise which hopefully not even ‘reasonable people’  will find offensive. ‘FC Sion – Your throne gone down. ‘

Away the Bhoys!


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